Fires spike sees Sunderland neighbourhoods hit with up to 160% increase in blazes

Sunderland communities have been facing a spike in bin, rubbish and grass fires of up to 158%, fire chiefs have revealed.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 12 June, 2019, 15:30
Stock picture of a wheelie bin fire as figures show some Sunderland neighbourhoods have been hit with a spike in fires of up to 158%

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue chiefs say secondary fires – blazes classed as minor and include burning rubbish, grass or derelict properties – are the “biggest problem” in the eastern parts of Sunderland.

According to new data, there were more than 200 fires across Hendon, Millfield, Ryhope, St Michael’s and Doxford wards over a five-month period.

Operation Extinguish anti-social behaviour campaign launch. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Area Manager Shaun Makin

Station manager Shaun Makin, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, presented the figures during an update to councillors this week.

Between January 1 and May 31, there was a spike in fires across all five wards compared to the same period last year.

The biggest change happened in Ryhope with incidents rising from 12 to 31 – a 158% increase.

Millfield was the next worst with a 64% increase, then Hendon with a 60% increase.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Mr Makin told a meeting of the Sunderland East Community Area Forum on June 10 that such fires can drain resources for both the fire service and the council.

“Rubbish fires, wheelie bin fires and refuse fires are the biggest problem we have in the Sunderland East area,” he said.

“You can see the theme from the police update and concerns by councillors there’s definitely a social issue with the youth drinking and antisocial behaviour.

“Its very seasonal, we had a very dry spell in January which indicates they’re out in the field.

“That’s a flavour of what the biggest problems are from the fire service perspective in your local wards.”

The fire boss added he plans to carry out focused work with children in year six to “change their mindset” before they go into secondary school.

So far, the Schools Education Programme has arranged school visits in conjunction with the police and also offers trips to fire stations.